From The Mississippi Link Newswire
JACKSON – Two Jones County residents are going to jail for taking advantage of the disabled and vulnerable, Attorney General Jim Hood said.
Nicholas Barnes, 22, of Taylorsville, and Alex Walker, 24, of Hattiesburg, appeared in Jones County Circuit Court before Judge Billy Joe Landrum.
Barnes pleaded guilty to one count of exploitation and was sentenced to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) with four years suspended, one year to serve, with four years post release supervision.
He was also ordered to pay a $500 fine, court costs of $382.50, $250 to the Victim’s Compensation Fund, $700 to the Attorney General’s Office for investigative costs and restitution of $387.
Barnes, who was working at Pecan Grove care facility in Ellisville, admitted to stealing a 26” flat screen television from the room of a resident and later selling it.
Hood said when questioned by an investigator, Barnes admitted he stole the television because he was “struggling financially.”
Walker pleaded guilty to one count each of felony abuse and obstruction of justice.
For each offense, Walker was sentenced to five years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections with three years suspended, two years to serve and three years post release supervision. He was also ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, court costs of $765 and a $1,000 reimbursement to Jones County for use of a public defender.
Walker, who was employed as a Direct Care Worker at Pecan Grove care facility in Ellisville, was handling a severely disabled resident who had become uncooperative.
Walker confessed to hitting the resident in the face with his hands and fists thereby inflicting severe pain and injury upon the resident. Walker then obstructed justice by attempting to bribe another resident to tell the authorities that he (the other resident) had actually assaulted the victim.
“We see way too many of these cases and, for as long as we do, we will continue our fight to prosecute those who prey on our state’s most vulnerable residents,” said Hood. “Judge Landrum sent a clear message that elder abusers will go to jail.”